“See what kind of love …”
Our chapter in 1 John 3 today starts with “See what kind of love the father has given to us …” Do we understand what kind of love this is? The word love is used so much today that we may take what it means for granted; and because of this unclear thoughts can develop in our minds as we read God’s word.
Love is a simple, but at the same time, a profound subject and the Apostle John uses it frequently in his Epistles.
He himself is described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:7,20). But did not Jesus love them all? Of course he did! But love comes in degrees of intensity; it understandsthe character which is the objective of its love. A mother still loves a naughty child, but there is a different ‘focus’ to that love.
Jesus found it necessary at times to reprove the disciples for their little faith; he rebuked Peter for tempting him to disobey his Father, he chided Thomas for his lack of belief. In contrast, what an example John set! He was prepared to go in and witness the trial of Jesus, although he does not name himself (John 18:15-16) and to stand beside the cross with Mary in her agony as her son agonised to the end: remember how she was told a sword would pierce through her own soul (see Luke 2:35).
All true believers must have a living relationship with Jesus that grows day after day, although there will be times of agony – but that is a factor in causing growth, it was with Job. As in all true relationships, it must grow and blossom and bring forth fruit. John wrote, “you know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or knows him” (1 John 3:5,6). That means – seen him with the eye of faith – so those who fail to become more and more like Jesus have never really known him which is what John means when he says such have not “seen him”.
Note Paul’s question, “Examine yourselves to see whether … Jesus Christ is in you” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Now ‘see’ John’s most meaningful words, “let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth” (verse 18). Our actions prove whether we mean what we say!
In the next chapter John writes, “… if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfectedin us … we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected in us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement … there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (4:12,16-18).
Yes, John’s words lead us to see “what kind of love” God and his Son have shown to us. And our response?
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